Collaborative Research: SEA-CALIPSO: An Offshore/Onshore Tomography and Magma-Chamber Seismic Imaging Experiment on Montserrat

Project: Research project

Project Details


The CALIPSO Project (Caribbean Andesitic Lava Island Precision Seismo-geodetic Observatory) on Montserrat, WI has aimed to investigate the dynamics of the entire magmatic system of Soufriere Hills Volcano, and to improve our understanding of magma dynamics for andesite volcanoes that make up most of the Earth's Ring of Fire. An exciting new component of this is the SEA-CALIPSO experiment, involving a Seismic Experiment with Airgun-source. This is an 'onshore/offshore' seismic experiment to image the magma chamber and deep crust of Soufriere Hills Volcano. This data acquisition phase of this project will be carried out in Spring 2005, with combined support of NSF (Geophysics and the Americas Program in OISE) and the National Environmental Research Council (NERC) of the UK. This collaborative project involves scientists and students from five US institutions (U Arkansas, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Cornell, Duke, Penn State), Bristol and Leeds universities in the UK, and the Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO). Prof. B. Voight is Project Director. The US group is being supported by NSF, whereas the other groups have gained support from UK agencies. The MVO will provide data and key logistical support to the project. The project entails circling Montserrat with a UK research vessel setting off airgun shocks, and recording the seismic wave arrivals, and natural earthquakes, by ~100 IRIS/PASSCAL seismic recorders. The deployment will last for a 3-4 month period centered approximately on the May 2005 airgun survey. These will be critical data, because modeling and interpretation of these datasets can be used to generate tomographic and reflection imaging of the magmatic system. The research will reveal important internal features of a currently erupting andesitic volcano, which is of significant value to the studies of volcanology, petrology and geochemistry, and geophysics. The investigators expect major advances in understanding magma genesis and transport, and 'how volcanoes work'. Five US institutions are involved, and at least six graduate students will be trained in deformation and seismic modeling, onshore/offshore seismic imaging, and many undergraduates will receive research experience. The importance of understanding such magma systems is clear, as this type of volcanism presents serious hazards and causes significant societal and economic damage.

Effective start/end date1/1/0512/31/08


  • National Science Foundation: $96,620.00


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